Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA

Today we support this campaign which seems to be led by Wikipedia. It's not because we don't support effective copyright legislation. It's our lifeblood!

But by all accounts this US legislation seems weighted in favour of big business and will allow the sort of extra-judicial terrorism favoured by those who can afford corporate lawyers. We're not a big business.

We have a recent example - and it's on YouTube. YouTube appear to be using automatic systems to check for copyright infringement. If your video is the same as someone else's you may get a message accusing you of copyright infringement. On our channel is a video about London Fashion Week, which was posted on Women's News UK. It's never had many views and would not harm us if it was taken down.

However when we had a notice warning us we might be infringing the copyright of another business, our hackles rose. We investigated, challenged - and have never had an acknowledgement from YouTube that we have successfully defended our case.

What happened? The video was supplied by a News Agency on behalf of one of the Fashion Week's sponsors. Somewhat naively we posted it in whole - it was quite well made. The same video was supplied to others - and was posted on YouTube by someone else. No coincidence, no problem.

Had we not contested this, YouTube might have taken down our whole channel. We're not a TV station and rely on submitted videos for video content. We think it enhances on-line news and have our own approach and philosophy about using on-line video.

So we say yes to policing copyright, and no to an automatic assumption of guilt, often made by people who do not understand the business.

And, yes, our copyright has been breached in the past. We do monitor for breaches and we do have access to resources to take action in the case of infringement. But in reality, if you quote one of our articles in an on-line forum, we don't have a problem. All we'd like to see is an acknowledgement and a link, either to us or to the newsfeed, such as, to which we supplied!